I heard a lot of bellbirds this weekend up in the mountains and it reminded me of a conversation I had had.
I was probably 6 and we were driving around the bends up above Gosford north of Sydney. The traffic in those days was terrible and the passage down very slow. Window down in the heat (no air con) and I heard these odd sounds. I asked my Dad about them and he recalled most of the poem below to me by heart.
When I heard them again today I asked my now 79 year old dad (via mine and his iPhones) what was the answer to my question about bellbirds and he immediately recalled this poem. And my memory came alive even more.
Here is this beautiful poem by Kendall.
By channels of coolness the echoes are calling,
And down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling:
It lives in the mountain where moss and the sedges
Touch with their beauty the banks and the ledges.
Through breaks of the cedar and sycamore bowers
Struggles the light that is love to the flowers;
And, softer than slumber, and sweeter than singing,
The notes of the bell-birds are running and ringing.
The silver-voiced bell birds, the darlings of daytime!
They sing in September their songs of the May-time;
When shadows wax strong, and the thunder bolts hurtle,
They hide with their fear in the leaves of the myrtle;
When rain and the sunbeams shine mingled together,
They start up like fairies that follow fair weather;
And straightway the hues of their feathers unfolden
Are the green and the purple, the blue and the golden.
October, the maiden of bright yellow tresses,
Loiters for love in these cool wildernesses;
Loiters, knee-deep, in the grasses, to listen,
Where dripping rocks gleam and the leafy pools glisten:
Then is the time when the water-moons splendid
Break with their gold, and are scattered or blended
Over the creeks, till the woodlands have warning
Of songs of the bell-bird and wings of the Morning.
Welcome as waters unkissed by the summers
Are the voices of bell-birds to the thirsty far-comers.
When fiery December sets foot in the forest,
And the need of the wayfarer presses the sorest,
Pent in the ridges for ever and ever
The bell-birds direct him to spring and to river,
With ring and with ripple, like runnels who torrents
Are toned by the pebbles and the leaves in the currents.
Often I sit, looking back to a childhood,
Mixt with the sights and the sounds of the wildwood,
Longing for power and the sweetness to fashion,
Lyrics with beats like the heart-beats of Passion; -
Songs interwoven of lights and of laughters
Borrowed from bell-birds in far forest-rafters;
So I might keep in the city and alleys
The beauty and strength of the deep mountain valleys:
Charming to slumber the pain of my losses
With glimpses of creeks and a vision of mosses.
A Poem first published in “Leaves from Australian Forests” in 1869 by
I don’t think being in love is different from our ideals.
Not at all. It is our ideals.
That’s the thing about anxiety.. It’s an inability of the brain to understand and resolve the issues we face. A sense that we haven’t done or sorted something.
I watched my favourite movie again last night. Was great in the context of having just visited Japan myself.
Such a classic love story. The conflicts of everyday life juxtaposed with the confusion of the local scene. But essentially two people colliding in understanding, connection and admiration.
Scarlet Johansen is lost in a marriage devoid of much meaning and a culture she tries to grasp as meaningful but only scrapes the surface. Bill Murray consummate as a wiser, older soul who presents a more human face to celebrity.
It’s voyeuristic, enigmatic, sentimental.
It’s a fabulous romance.
Just a few notes about my recent vist. Love to hear your impressions of the place..
From the train it looks like one great big crazy suburb for 700 miles. There seems no urban planning. I only realised yesterday the population is 128 million in those tiny islands.
I guess a lot of it was bombed and the hasty recovery didn’t allow for order and parks and villages and green space.
Then you come to places like Nara where there are acres of manicured grounds and beauty. I think travelling Japan by car would give a much better impression. I want to go off into the countryside if it exists and find a cute village.
Tokyo was massive, interesting. Again buildings abutting each other in seeming non-planned and fairly ugly chaos. The shops, brilliant, the people so individual and eclectic in what they wear.
Friendliness, yes!! Definitely want to be helpful. Very proud of maintaining their immediate environs.
Food. I would love to explore this more. Sometimes you just have to take a break from sashimi and have a pizza.
Language, generally a bit of a barrier. Maybe if I was travelling alone I would have tried to speak to more locals. The writing indecipherable.
Kyoto really worth a visit. Something really peace giving about this place. Not everyone drives a prius however.
Hiroshima. Mind blowing. You all should go there. Peace man.
When a pretty girl is taking a surreptitious photo/selfie in a theatre prior to an acrobatic show of the strange man sitting behind her (me) and he totally photobombs it with a crazy peace sign?
And she laughs?
Remember man that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.
But oh what amazing stardust it is!
That travel has an incredible ability to expand your perspective on so many things. Even allowing you to reaffirm that people are so similar now in many ways. The reach of corporations is absolutely mind boggling.
I guess what is more interesting is the differences. History, architecture, vistas, culture, politics.
I’m glad I developed a travel bug so young and determined to keep exploring for a long time yet.